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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 03/29/2012

Who does Mitch McConnell want to win the Louisville-Kentucky game?

You could call it Mitch McMadness.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — an alumnus of the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky — vows not to take sides publicly in Saturday’s hotly-anticipated NCAA Final Four matchup between the Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats. But that doesn’t mean he won’t take a few moments of the Senate’s time to brag about his state’s good fortune.

“If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed, Mr. President, we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

McConnell earned his undergraduate degree from Louisville and his law degree from Kentucky, but U of L is home of the McConnell Center and the senator is known to root for the Cardinals, occasionally sporting the team’s red tie in public.

During his speech Wednesday, McConnell noted the “passionate” rivalry between Wildcat and Cardinal fans back home and that “From birth, it seems, Kentuckians are raised to root for one of two teams — you either wear red for the Louisville Cardinals, or blue for the Kentucky Wildcats.”

McConnell also managed to score some digs against his colleagues from the Tar Heel, Jayhawk and Buckeye states (North Carolina, Kansas and Ohio): “On Saturday, we will prove that these two schools have the best rivalry in all of college basketball — and that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the best college basketball State in the Nation. Let me say that again, so my friends in North Carolina can hear it: UofL and UK have the best rivalry in all of college basketball, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the best college basketball State in the Nation.”

One team will win Saturday’s game, McConnell said, but “they will go on to defeat either Kansas or Ohio State and bring a national championship back home to Kentucky where it belongs.”

No word on what Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) think of those sentiments.

Here’s a full transcript of McConnell’s speech:

“Something very special in the world of sports is happening in my home State of Kentucky.
“Kentucky is well known as the home to the Kentucky Derby, often called the greatest two minutes in sports.
“But this coming Saturday, March 31, we will witness one of the greatest moments in Kentucky’s sports history.
“Two of the most storied and winningest programs in all of college basketball, the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, will meet this Saturday in the 2012 NCAA Tournament Final Four.
“The two teams will face off in a semifinals game in New Orleans. And the winner of that game will contest for the national championship the following Monday night.
“In my home State of Kentucky, the rivalry between fans of UofL and UK is a passionate one. From birth, it seems, Kentuckians are raised to root for one of two teams—you either wear red for the Louisville Cardinals, or blue for the Kentucky Wildcats.
The two teams boast two legendary coaches, Rick Pitino and John Calipari. The teams have met every year since 1983. And they’ve met in the NCAA Tournament four times, most recently in the Mideast Regionals in 1984. Between them, they have 24 visits to the Final Four. But never have these two teams faced each other in the Final Four, with the stakes so high.
If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed, Mr. President, we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game.
And on Saturday, we will prove that these two schools have the best rivalry in all of college basketball—and that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the best college basketball State in the Nation.
Let me say that again, so my friends in North Carolina can hear it: UofL and UK have the best rivalry in all of college basketball, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the best college basketball State in the Nation.
But only one team can win on Saturday night.
I am actually an alumnus of both schools, Mr. President. I attended the University of Louisville as an undergraduate and went to law school at the University of Kentucky.
So I don’t know who will win Saturday’s game. But I do know this: whoever the winner is, they will go on to defeat either Kansas or Ohio State and bring a national championship back home to Kentucky where it belongs.
So count me in with my fellow Kentuckians and college basketball fans everywhere as we tune in this Saturday to see history in the making, Mr. President. It’s going to be very exciting to watch.”

Who’s going to win the game? Share your predictions in the comments section below.

Staff writer Paul Kane contributed to this report.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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